Former detective reflects on 20-year-old murder spree

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Twenty years ago, Mark Spotz was convicted in a murder spree that spanned four counties and left four people dead.

“It is hard to believe it has been 20 years since the murders happened,” said John Sancenito, a former detective at the North Middleton Township Police Department.

Sancenito was the lead detective in the murder of Betty Amstutz, Spotz’s final victim. He is currently writing a book about the case.

“Twenty years later I still think of her and what she went through and all of the victims in this case because it was so senseless,” Sancenito said.

Spotz in January 1995 shot and killed his brother during an argument at his mother’s home in Clearfield County. It sparked a 48-hour trail of carjackings and abductions that left three innocent women dead: June Ohlinger, 52, of Schuylkill County; Penny Gunnet, 41, of York County; and Amstutz, 72, of Harrisburg.

Amstutz was abducted from her home while she was putting away groceries. Investigators found milk and cottage cheese on a counter. Spotz forced her to withdraw money from two different banks. Video surveillance showed him driving Amstutz’s car while she was in the passenger seat.

He then took her to Dunham’s Sporting Goods in Mechanicsburg where he made her buy clothing for him on her credit card. He then forced her to check into a room at the Knights Inn in Carlisle using her credit card. He then drove her to McClures Gap Road outside Carlisle where he shot her nine times.

Amstutz’s body is buried out of state. Sancenito will sometimes put flowers at the scene where her body was found.

“She was a single woman and she died in a very cruel manner, and sometimes I just think it’s important to remember the victims in this case,” Sancenito said.

Spotz is on death row at the Greene state prison.

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